While there are some campuses within the 115 California Community College system currently providing IT certification program testing services, the practice is not widely held. Researcher Jamie Mulkey, Ed.D. recently completed an in-depth study to find out whether existing campus testing services could include ICT and Digital Media credentialing exams or if new testing facilities would be required. She also discovered some barriers that are preventing test delivery from occurring on campuses and recommendations for improving upon existing infrastructure and testing center configurations. Some of her key findings include:
- Community colleges find value in offering third-party certifications to compliment course offerings, particularly when these certifications show measurement for student success.
- For these credential-driven programs to be successful, ICT instructors must have a vested interest in the credentialing process. This means participating in course creation, self-qualification, and teaching to third-party certifications as the capstone to a class or set of classes.
- Certification exam vouchers at discounted prices must be provided to students. Third-party certification exams can be expensive; the cost of certification shouldn’t be cost-prohibitive.
- Different sized testing center locations could provide a flexible model for schools to meet their facility, resource, and community needs. This would benefit current CCC students and possibly attract new students. There is value in providing pathways for obtaining third-party credentials to students.
- The industry credential puts a ‘seal of approval’ on a student’s area of study and makes the individual more attractive to employers.